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tv   BBC News  BBC News  February 17, 2019 12:00pm-12:31pm GMT

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this is bbc news. the headlines at midday. the family of runaway schoolgirl shamima begum, who fled the uk to live with the so—called islamic state group, believe she has given birth to a boy. president trump warns the us will have to release hundreds of islamic state fighters unless the uk and other allies can take reponsibility for those jihadists who came from europe. passengers are left with plane tickets they can't use, and hundreds ofjobs are at risk, as flybmi collapses. theresa may writes to every conservative mp urging them to put aside their personal differences over brexit and come together in the national interest. a bbc investigation exposes films and photographs promoting animal cruelty and illegal blood—sports on social media websites. millions of workers their take—home pay fall could see in six weeks‘ time when the amount they have to pay into their pension pot increases.
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and in half an hour here on bbc news, click takes a look at how the future of data storage might be within us all in our dna. the family of the teenager shamima begum, who left britain four years ago to join islamic state in syria, believe she has given birth. shamima, who's now 19, was found last week in a syrian refugee camp by the times newspaper. she said she wanted to bring up her baby in britain, as she had lost two other children while living with is. the begums‘ family lawyer, mohammed akunjee has tweeted this.
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mr akunjee then went on to say the baby is a boy. our home affairs correspondent daniel sandford is following the story and gave this update. i should say this is not information the bbc has been able to confirm from anyone in the camp that shamima begum has had a baby or indeed that she was pregnant but the lawyer has said... on his twitter feed, the lawyer went on to say that it is a boy.
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so it has not been verified by anyone at the bbc but the lawyer representing the family has said they have received information that she may have given birth to a son in the camp. there has been a lot of controversy since the news broke, the times newspaper having an interview with her the other day, controversy over whether she should be able to come back to the united kingdom and have her baby looked after, if she has had a baby, on the nhs and so on. if she has given birth, would that make any difference to her ability to come back to the uk? i don't think it makes a massive amount of difference. the government made it pretty clear they would not send anyone to go and get anyone from these refugee camps in northern syria who might have been there as part of the islamic state group. so i don't think that changes that. whether or not she has a baby doesn't appear to change that position. if she was to get to a country with a recognised government and get to a british consulate then i think a woman with a young baby, or a woman who was heavily pregnant,
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either way, saying they wanted to get documentation to come back to britain, that's the difficult question for the government. i think their position has shifted a little bit since friday. i think they have sort of started to accept, people who don't have any other claim to be british citizens and can have their return to britain managed carefully, they might have to live under very strict conditions, monitored by the police and they would certainly be investigated. there is an issue about what nationality any baby might have, but again it looks pretty clear that if it can be verified that it was definitely the woman's baby and that woman did not have any other nationality then the baby would probably also have british nationality. to be clear, she is considered to be a british national even though she is in syria? at the moment, unless the british
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government can find another nationality she might have, they have to accept she cannot be rendered stateless, and therefore she has to be accepted as british. and therefore has a right to come back to britain. daniel sandford, home affairs correspondent, thank you. meanwhile president trump has tweeted abouting islamic state saying... the alternative is not a good one in that we will be forced to release them... the us does not want to watch as these isis fighters permeate europe, which is where they are expected to go. the united states is asking britain, france, germany and other european allies to take back over 800 isis fighters that we captured in syria
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and put them on trial. just four years ago is controlled vast areas of syria and northern iraq. it had taken control of raqqa and mosul. but the group's so—called caliphate has continued to shrink since then, and is now less than one small square kilometre on the euphrates river. militants are reportedly retreating and hiding among the local population as the battle for the village of baghuz enters its final stages. charlie dagata from america's cbs news has more on the fight against islamic state. the final battle is in its final days, with isis pinned down to an area of around a quarter of a square mile — that is the update we got from the commander of the us—backed syrian democratic forces, jia furat. he said the final isis village of baghuz fawqani had not yet fallen but his ground forces were holding fire and moving forward cautiously because so many civilians remain trapped as human shields. military officials here say they severly underestimated the number of civilians inside that village when they launched the offensive to crush the last remnants of the so—called caliphate one week ago.
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first estimated to be around 1,500 people, more than twice that many have since flooded out this week, including many isis families. hundreds of isis fighters reportedly surrendered this week, of the a50 or so militants thought to be making a last stand. when we last visited the front line on thursday, we found sdf fighters on a more relaxed footing since the final offensive began. apart from sporadic gunfire, a relative calm suggested the brutal last battle might be coming to an end. commander furat vowed to broadcast to the world in the coming days the military end of isis. we stressed "military end" because even us—led coalition officials have said isis will remain a threat as an underground insurgency, which raises the question about exactly when america's 2,000 troops will withdraw. charlie dagata, cbs news.
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for bbc news in eastern syria. stranded passengers are trying to find alternative travel arrangements, after the airline, flybmi, collapsed. in a statement, the company blamed rising fuel costs, as well as challenges created by brexit. the airline, based near east midlands airport, has told customers it will not be able to reschedule any flights. this colin campbell has the details. with all flybmi flights cancelled, hundreds of passengers, including families on their half term breaks, have had their travel plans disrupted. others have been left stranded abroad. all the flights for me to return home are really expensive and flybmi have said they will not return the £134 i initially spent so i don't know how i'm going to get back. we are now off into austria for our skiing trip but there is a real concern as to how we are going to get home now the company has gone into administration. based in the east midlands, flybmi operated 17 jets, flying to 25 european cities.
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the airline, which has 376 employees, blames its collapse on a spike in the price of fuel and changes in the cost of carbon permits. in a statement, the company said current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the brexit process which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in europe. it's a horrible time to be any small airline at the moment. in europe, you have far too many seats, but too few customers and just looking at the numbers for flybmi, the average flight had only 18 people on it. to the airport unless they have booked an alternative flight. the civil aviation authority say those affected should contact their travel agent, credit card or insurance provider to see if they can get a refund. colin campbell, bbc news. i'm joined now from
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our brighton studio by murdo morrison from flight global magazine. thank you very much for being with us. thank you very much for being with us. is this another example of a smaller airline simply being squeezed? yes, very much so. i think it's very difficult at the moment to operate a regional or a short—haul european airline unless you have scale and you have larger aircraft and you can fill those aircraft, like easyjet or ryanair, or unless you have a very strong niche in the market where you can command premium prices because no one else serves that route. and also because business people use it because they are happy to pay large affairs for the convenience and getting to destinations directly. —— happy to pay a largerfares. flybmi didn't
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really sit anywhere. it was certain with the tourist market competing with the tourist market competing with low—cost airlines and competing with low—cost airlines and competing with business routes as well and it didn't have that scale. its aircraft we re didn't have that scale. its aircraft were too small and it wasn't even filling these aircraft. it was half filling these aircraft. it was half filling these aircraft. it was half filling these small aircraft so really it's been an airline that has beenin really it's been an airline that has been in trouble for a very long time. it's also blaming fuel costs and challenges posed by brexit, it says as well. yes, i mean, brexit tends to be blamed by pretty much every business at the moment, and some for very good reasons. brexit uncertainty will certainly have been a contributor here, as indeed have rising fuel prices. all airlines face rising fuel prices. they all pay the same for their fuel. some hedge which makes it a little bit easier, but i don't think that's been the core of the problem for
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flybmi. they've had a very difficult start in life. they were the discarded rump of the much larger bmi airline that was taken over by british airways back in 2012. without the access to those long haul routes and long haul passengers that a large airline like bmi was bringing in, just to run an airline purely on point to point regional routes running small aircraft, it's really a business model that's almost doomed from the start, i'm afraid. do you think there could be other casualties if there is this squeeze on the smaller airlines? it's very difficult, you don't want to name names. there have been a number of airlines that have been very public about their financial difficulties, such as flybe, not to
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be confused with flybmi, as they said ina be confused with flybmi, as they said in a statement this morning. and norwegian, which has a very different business model, flying european routes but also flying long haul routes to north america that haven't. .. it's been haul routes to north america that haven't... it's been very difficult for that airline to get those established and to run those profitably. so, yes, there are going to bea profitably. so, yes, there are going to be a lot of airlines at the moment very worried and looking at their finances very carefully. and even larger airlines, we have seen with easyjet, rya nair, even larger airlines, we have seen with easyjet, ryanair, they have faltered a bit. the growth they have had over the last decade or two has begun to slow a bit. it's a very difficult environment at the moment for short—haul airlines. difficult environment at the moment for short-haul airlines. good to talk to you, thank you to murdo morrison from flight global magazine. theresa may has called
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on conservative mps to put "personal preferences" aside and get her brexit deal through the house of commons. in a letter to every tory member of parliament, the prime minister said "history would judge us all" over the handling of brexit. she also set out what the government would be doing in the coming days to secure a withdrawal agreement that will get parliament's backing. the brexit secretary stephen barclay is due to be back in brussels tomorrow for a meeting with his eu counterpart, michel barnier. later this week, the attorney general, geoffrey cox is expected to make a rare speech in which he will outline how the government will eliminate any legal risk to stop the irish backstop becoming indefinite. and the prime minister is scheduled to have another meeting with the president of the european commission, jean—claude juncker as well. i've been discussing the government's latest position on the irish backstop with our political correspondent, pete saull. theresa may in this letter today also reiterates the fact she will not change her approach.
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as far as she is concerned the best way to get a deal through parliament is to secure changes to the northern irish backstop, that safety net to avoid a hard border on the island of ireland. in the event that can't be resolved through a future trading relationship. she will be going back to brussels this week and the talks continue. 0n the andrew marr programme this morning, the culture secretary jeremy wright was asked about this and he was repeatedly asked by andrew marr whether he thought the changes would be sufficient if we didn't have to reopen the withdrawal agreement, because the prime minister has said we have to reopen what has already been agreed, but a suggestion perhaps from one of her ministers that that might not necessarily be the case. i don't think it's the mechanism that matters, it's the objective. if you can get to a place where the potential longevity of the backstop, the potential that the locked backstop lasts forever can be adequately dealt with, that's what we are all seeking to do. that is what parliament has been
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very clear it wants. it will back this deal if we can do something about the backstop. the mechanism is what we are discussing at the moment. but parliament needs to give the prime minister the space to go and have that conversation with brussels, to see what we can achieve and if we can do something about that then i think it's very clear parliament will be prepared to support this deal. that's quite interesting because the european union has made it clear it will not reopen the withdrawal agreement but it could consider some changes to the political declaration side of the deal, which i suppose is the wish list looking towards what a future relationship might look like. having said all that, the brexiteers within the conservative party have the conservative party have been very, very clear that this needs to be completely reopened and in some cases in their view removed entirely from the deal already in place sojeremy wright might not find much support among his brexiteer colleagues. what about labour... i don't see why there is a need to because on all the issues people have raised as a potential for a split, we are dealing with. for example, they are saying on brexit, well, we are holding
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the party together on brexit. those who are saying that we will split if we don't get a people's vote, well, we still have that option on the table. it might come about so why split over that? it's ridiculous. john mcdonnell, there, the shadow chancellor, talking about the conservatives not being the only party divided over brexit. talk at westminster about a potential split within the labour party. seven or eight labour mps thinking they might well have had enough withjeremy corbyn‘s leadership and the party's position on brexit and a lot of them feel it hasn't gone nearly far enough, specifically the call for another referendum, a so—called people's vote on brexit that is supposedly now labour party policy. if they can't bring about a general election, that's what they will move towards. john mcdonnell at pains to say they are addressing some of the concerns of labour backbenchers and he feels a split a split would be completely counterintuitive. more meetings as ever in the coming week between various
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british politicians and their eu counterparts. you outlined some of them in the introduction. we are hearing theresa may has plans to speak to every single one of the 27 leaders of the eu countries in the next few days as well, as she tries to ramp up efforts to secure some changes to the brexit deal. parliament was due to be in recess this week. they were supposed to go off on their skiing breaks, the mps, this week. but that has been cancelled. interestingly there is not much brexit stuff on the agenda this week. they will be talking about everything else apart from brexit, so it shows once again the state of limbo we are in at the moment and this week we will also hear from attorney general geoffrey cox on what the government is trying to achieve in terms of those legally binding changes that might be able to satisfy some of the brexiteers within the conservative party. 0ur political correspondent pete saull. the latest sports now with a full
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round—up from holly hamilton. pep guardiola has played down talk of a clean sweep of trophies after manchester city beat newport county in their fifth round fa cup tie. the league 2 side didn't make it wasy or them though. it took city until the 51st minute to score at rodney parade. but after that, two goals from phil foden and a fourth from riyad mahrez gave them a 4—1 victory to qualify for the quarterfinals. they're also currently top of the prmeier league, in the final of the league cup and on wednesday they'll face schalke in the champions league last 16. no english team has ever won all four major competitions in one season. we will see in may and june how we have done. but it's important in february to be there. we won one title, in the final for another one, we are there in the premier league and in the quarterfinals of the fa cup, and in the last 16 of the champions league.
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what can i say, delighted, congratulations and thank you to the players, but the result will be in the end. you'll have to wait until tomorrow night for the 5th round showpiece between manchester united and chelsea. but this afternoon we've got bristol city and wolves at one o'clock, then doncaster host crystal palace at 4pm and the battle of the championship mid—table sides, swansea and brentford. and the women's fa cup 5th round continues this afternoon. the tie of the round though has to be the holders chelsea taking on arsenal in a repeat of last year's final, when chelsea beat the 14—time winners 3—1. former england goalkeeper rachel brown finnis told us neither side will go down without a fight. both teams are relatively in form. certainly arsenal are flying high, not quite top of the super league but certainly, well, the league is in their own hands and they are still fighting on all fronts. i think they are the dominant force to be reckoned with in any
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competition this time around. but chelsea are kind of a wounded animal i think at the moment. celtic have the chance to go eight points clear at the top of the scottish premiership later today after rangers failed to beat stjohnstone yesterday. brendan rodgers' side travel to kilmarnock later — before that though motherwell — who have won their last 5 league games — host hearts. that game has just kicked off in the last few minutes — no score there. britain's laura muir set a new national record over the mile at the birmingham indoor athletics. she won in a time of 4 minutes 18.75 seconds, taking five seconds off kirsty wade's mark, which had stood since 1988. the time was also the fastest in the world this year and the third quickest in history. it proves she's in great form ahead of next month s european indoor championships in glasgow, where she'll defend both her 1500 and 3000 metre titles. i knew i was in great shape and for me it was about winning
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the race but i wanted to run fast and to get an opportunity to try and go for another record. 0n home soil, i couldn't miss it. i'm so chuffed to be able to do it. in rugby league, the wigan warriors could win a record fifth world club challenge, if they beat the sydney roosters later today. the warriors are the most successful team in the history of the competition and last won the trophy in 2017. though the last time these sides met in the final, it was the roosters who triumphed, back in 2014. it's a massive opportunity as a player to get to play in a game like this, to get to represent your club and your country to some extent, it's a huge opportunity, so the boys really buy into it. from our point of view, we know it will be a real
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tough task, real tough game, but it's something we're really looking forward to ourselves with. that's all the sport for now. i'll have more in the next hour. videos and photographs promoting animal cruelty and illegal bloodsports are being shared on social media, according to a bbc countryfile investigation. in response, facebook and youtube have taken down some of the content, but material celebrating illegal hunting and cockfighting is still accessible, as tom heap reports. from hare coursing to cockfighting, these are the cruelest of so—called sports with gambling at their heart. you may have thought these blood sports lived only in the past but today the power of the web has given them a new audience. we found evidence that some of the world's most popular internet sites like facebook and youtube are being used by illicit gambling rings to organise animal fights and also share disturbing and cruel images online with huge
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numbers of followers. it's about the money. it is purely about the betting. there's significant amounts of money made in this. we have intelligence suggesting that dogs can be bought for £25—30,000 for a hare coursing dog with good bloodline. they are making six figures annually. purely from hare coursing. and they can live stream to their friends in the pub. we have infiltrated a number of closed groups on facebook, groups believed to be sharing illegal blood sport material. they may not be publicly accessible but they have huge numbers of followers. and it's notjust facebook. we also found videos being uploaded and shared on youtube. we showed them our evidence and facebook did take down one profile that had been up for several years but others remain. facebook told us that their content must respect local laws and that they rely on reports from appropriate authorities so they can take appropriate action. youtube also removed some material
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and said it had clear policies that banned graphic content and animal abuse. tom heap, bbc news. and you can watch more on tom heap‘s report on countryfile this evening on bbc one — that's at 7pm. us airforce transport planes carrying humanitarian aid for venezuela have landed at the colombian border where food and medicine is being stock—piled for distribution. president maduro has refused to allow the aid in, accusing the us of trying to organise a coup. american officials say the aid had been requested by the venezuelan opposition leader, juan guaido, who declared himself interim president last month. jon ironmonger reports. it is an operation both humanitarian and highly political. arriving on the colombian border, three us cargo planes carrying food, medicine and clothes for the people of venezuela. this is not the first shipment,
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nor will it be the last, not only from the united states but we know many other countries arejoining as well. aid packages are being stockpiled at the request of the venezuelan opposition leader, juan guaido, in colombia, brazil and the caribbean. speaking at a rally in caracas, the self—proclaimed interim president appealed to new volunteers to help carry supplies over crossings next saturday. he restated an ultimatum for the armed forces to back down. translation: once again, the message to the venezuelan armed forces, seven days for humanitarian aid to enter, a week for you to do the right thing and put yourselves on the side of the constitution. we are authorising the entrance of not only humanitarian aid but also humanity.
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us officials say venezuela is in the grip of an economic crisis, leading to widespread hunger and a critical shortage of basic medicines. according to the united nations, 3 million venezuelan migrants have fled the country since 2015. us aid drops are intensifying the stand—off with nicolas maduro, who has called the operation a disguise for an invasion. he continued this week to stoke up hostility among the armed forces, saying, "yankee, go home!" juan guaido said he would announce further details on monday about his plan to get aid into the country, but it is a promise he could struggle to keep. maduro's still loyal military have barricaded bridge crossings and show no signs of giving way. jon ironmonger, bbc news. millions of workers could see
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their take—home pay fall from april when the amount they have to put into their pension pot increases. a bbc analysis of earnings suggests higher contribution rates for those in auto—enrolment pensions will hit pay packets, despite an imminent tax cut. rob young reports. building a pension pot, sacrificing part of our wages today to pay for a more comfortable retirement. since 2012,10 million eligible workers have been automatically enrolled in a workplace pension. from april, many of those employees will have to pay a bigger proportion of their pay into their auto enrolment pension pot. according to an analysis of earnings carried out for the bbc, the annual take—home pay of someone earning £15,000 a year will be £49 lower, someone on £30,000 will take home £253 less. in a few weeks, many workers currently contributing 3% of their pay will have to put 5% in.
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this is quite a significant increase relative to what they have been paying to date and this will affect up to 10 million people auto enrolled in the last few years. the potential impact of this change is quite substantial. the hit to net pay could have been bigger — a tax cut for most earners also due in april will soften the blow. some in the industry worry the hit to pay could lead people to opt out of saving for a pension. but speaking on a recent visit to this electronics factory, the minister in charge said she hoped that would not happen. we need to encourage people to save more and employers to take more of a role. i think that's exactly what we are seeing and we are going to increase it slightly this year. the government regards auto enrolment as a huge success and says it will monitor what happens in a few weeks' time. some in the industry say worker contributions may have to rise even further if they want a decent retirement income. rob young, bbc news.
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time for a look at the weather with matt taylor. hello, the rain clouds you seen this morning across some western areas clearing to sunshine into the afternoon but we will see showers spread across scotland and into other parts of northern, central parts of england this afternoon. bits of cloud spreading towards east anglia and the south—east by the end of the day. we could see some rain or drizzle in that. but as i said, north and west, lots more sunshine around to this afternoon. a stiffening southerly breeze which tonight will touch galeforce across the north west but it is still a southerly one so even though temperatures not quite as high as they were a few days ago, 12 to 15 degrees, still well above where they should be for the time of year. now, into tonight, we will start to see


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